Here’s a guest article on Balcony Gardening by Nina Ennaji, of the Natural Store in Falmouth, which is now open till 8pm on Thursday evenings.
I used to plow my garden with my horse and a one furrow – so it never occurred to me to plant anything edible on my miniscule balcony in the middle of Falmouth.
This year it dawned on me that it might be possible, fresher and more economical all round to see if a vegetable garden was viable in such a small space. On measuring I discovered that in the 2½’ x 6½’ space I could put 3 boxes on the front, another long box at one side and a couple of large pots at the other side, with sundry smaller pots strategically placed so that at least one of the doors could be opened.
I decided to try a variety of lettuces, cut and come again leaves, escarole, mini mange tout, cherry tomatoes, parsley, coriander, mint and a nasturtium plant. I’m happy to report that my experiment has been an overwhelming success! I have been able to pick enough for 2 large plates of salad each day for the last 2 months.
The peas were great – I think next year I will plant more of them. Also next year I will get started earlier and make sure I can get a trip to the Tues market to buy a wider variety plants like Mizuna and Bok Choy from Chopsticks (Lydia). I might leave out the cut- and- come- again and have a wider selection of lettuces. The Romaine have done really well as well as being a great source of nutrition. The tomatoes have lots of flowers and are beginning to set fruit. It’s lovely to pick sprigs of mint, parsley and coriander to compliment the salad and a few nasturtium leaves add a nice peppery taste and the flowers top the whole plate off!
Because the flat is so high up I put some green netting around the railings to prevent the strong winds from flattening the tomato plants – so far so good.
I’m really pleased with my miniature garden and amazed at just how much food can be grown in such a small area – I wouldn’t have thought it was possible. As well as eating all the great fresh veggies I also get to look out at this sea of living breathing green plants and know that it’s not only good for me but also good for the planet!